Worth

1 Jul

I am getting back into the swing of things. No more playing around and taking the easier options. So far this week I have done two massive challenges and it’s only Wednesday. It’s hard to say that I feel proud of myself for them but I am really pleased that I am proving myself wrong. I thought these terrible things were going to happen by doing these challenges and yet for the most part, I’m still standing. The worst case scenarios have failed to materialise, which is nice but it also annoys me a little that I have spent years being so afraid for no good reason. The fear was unfounded. There was no point to it. I’m not even sure when they came into play. I suppose it’s what happens when you don’t pay attention. Things…thoughts, fears and behaviours have a way of creeping up on you and even though you may have known the logic behind them once, you get to a point where you can’t remember what that logic is anymore and the only reason you carry on is because it has become so entrenched that you don’t know how to let go. Maybe that it’s where the success in recovery lays…the ability to figure out how to just let go. Letting go of being afraid, of control, of hate or sadness. Letting go of the lies that you tell yourself and the torture that you put yourself through. It is essentially an extremely complex problem but the answer is really quite simple. The answer is to just stop being so barbaric to yourself…because what Anorexia makes us do is not human. There is no way that I would ever be able to physically hurt someone else, or starve them or make them throw up or isolate them. Yet I did that to myself…or Anorexia did that to me. Either way we have to stop thinking that we are less than human and that we are exempt from the rules of common decency. We aren’t…not one of us is. Of course you are free to argue that, believe you are different, that you truly deserve unhappiness and suffering…but you don’t. I guess I don’t either. Yet I still doubt it and in my heart I know that if I carry on holding on to that, then I’m not going to fully recover. You don’t fight for the thing that’s not worth saving. You fight for the thing that is. We…you and I guess me…we are already worthy. Somehow we’re all going to have to internalise that.

I’m moving forward in my recovery. It has certainly been shook up this last week but it was probably a good thing. Helped me refocus and not get complacent. My discharge date has been moved forward to August as my Nurse is leaving. Mostly I am ok with this. I am both anxious but ridiculously excited. The nerves are because I’ve never being able to sustain this. This whole staying at a healthy weight is new to me and I still haven’t made up my mind about how I feel about it. Intellectually I know that I need to stay here or even go higher if I want to study and socialise and generally have a life. Emotionally that picture looks cloudy. I’m excited though because it’s another step to reclaiming my freedom. I may be out of hospital but I still feel accountable to other people. They get access to parts of my life just because of their roles and I want to just be me. Not a patient or a diagnosis or a risk assessment or a BMI. Just me…the person. Can you understand that? It’s a mentality thing. So the plan is to carry on pushing through and getting as much done as I possibly can in the time that I have left in treatment.

I’m beginning to think that maybe things have a chance of being ok. I hope it’s real.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

It got loud

28 Jun

My head space got worse. It felt like I was sinking into something that felt familiar and normal. The most terrifying part though was how I didn’t care. Out of nowhere I had this sudden narrow minded drive of wanting to make myself less and being completely uninterested in the consequences or damage that I would do in trying to attain that. I gave into Anorexia. I listened. I threw myself on to the tracks and waited for the train to come whistling by. It was all rather dramatic but also kind of flat. I mean, my head was screaming and I was struggling to keep myself from punching the mirror but I became quiet and withdrawn. I thought I was going to be ok with a relapse because it had to be better than what I was feeling in that moment, didn’t it? I could lose it all again and I’d be fine. I would just have to make sure people wouldn’t notice. It was somewhere during this period of me trying to rationalise how I could stop fighting the disorder when it struck me that what I was doing was not fine. Deconstructing my entire life again because I hate my body began to feel a little bit ridiculous. Was I really prepared to give it all up again, my life, family, friends, classes…for the sake of x amount of lbs? I’ll be honest with you, for a time I thought the answer was yes. Then I drove home last night and went past this woman who must have been in her sixties. She was small, painfully so and walking that walk which is more purposeful than a stroll. It broke my heart. Then it scared me. My twenties will be over soon and my life is passing me by because I am too wrapped up in this disorder to ever really be present in it. It started to filter in then, the memories of the reality of losing weight. The cold and the pain. The hair loss and the irregular heart beats. The bone weakness and muscle wasting. It seems like to high a price to pay for a reflection that I don’t like. So I’m trying to reshift things in my head once again. I caught myself this time so it’s not like I have a lot to undo but it unnerves me how it strikes apparently out of nowhere. Maybe that will always be a risk, just when I think I’m doing alright, it has to come and rattle me. All it takes is the wrong thought that I let in and I’m snowballed.

I hope it won’t always be this hard.

I hope your day has been good to you.

What’s it trying to tell me?

25 Jun

It’s fair to say that I am having a pretty awful day, which is something considering that it’s not even lunch time and I haven’t left the house yet. So far I have cancelled my trip to the doctors to have my weight and blood tests done, gone through a ridiculous amount of outfit changes and then cancelled my lunch time appointment with my Health Support Worker. As the days pass lately, my body image seems to be getting worse. I cannot bear being in my own skin right now and have this desire to crawl out of it or change it. Everything makes me feel uncomfortable, my clothes don’t look right, my hair is wrong, my face is ugly. I am trying to figure out if what I am seeing is a true reflection or if my mind is trying to tell me something isn’t right. Yet I don’t know what that thing is. If I look at my life it seems fine to me. There is nothing that is upsetting or particularly hard right. There is not a situation that I want to avoid or run from. Plainly speaking, there is no need for Anorexia to be getting louder but it is. I don’t know how much longer I can keep ignoring the call that tells me to reduce myself.

I’m losing entire mornings torturing myself in front of the mirror. It hurts to look into it and I don’t know how I accept what I am seeing. Maybe it’s getting harder because I’m finally starting to grasp that all the weight restoration that I did isn’t temporary? Before the intention to lose weight when it was over was there. I could stomach it a bit better because it wasn’t going to be real or a long-term thing. This time it’s supposed to be though. This is the body that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life living in and every time I think of that, it’s like I’m being kicked in the face. There are so many more important reasons why I chose to recover and yet it’s hard to see what they are now or why they matter more. I know that weight is only one surface issue when it comes to an Eating Disorder but it is one I can’t seem to get past. Logically I know that I was miserable at a lower weight, that it didn’t fix me or made me acceptable but my brain wants to believe that it was at least better than this. Was it better than this?

Physically I am probably healthier than I have been in years. I’m not waiting anymore for a heart attack. I’m not ruining my bones or throwing my bloods out of whack. Why isn’t that enough? It’s just painful existing this way and I want to not care but dammit I do care! I can’t hate other people but for some reason I can’t let go of this self loathing which never seems to lessen. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I apply what I believe for other people to myself?

I can’t hide from the world forever. It’s not convenient.

I hope your day is kind to you.

Pushing Myself

22 Jun

It’s been a few days and I can safely say that I have let go of my anger. It is such a useless emotion for me to experience because all I ever feel is destroyed by it. I truly believe in the Buddhist quote which says “holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. I don’t have the energy or desire to keep holding on to something so toxic. I did learn something from it though and that was that I am not as cold on the inside as I thought. I had this idea in my head that I had lost my ability to feel anything that intensely, it’s been a while since I have. I don’t really cry or scream or get upset these days. It felt like everything was reaching me after it was bypassed through a filter which sure works fine for all those pesky negative emotions, not so great when it comes to the positive ones. It turns out that I am actually capable of more than I believed.

That capability is also reflecting in my recovery. You know, when I first entered treatment I kind of just got by. Yes it was hard and horrendous but I did the least amount of what was required of me. I didn’t challenge the scary foods, I didn’t look carefully at what was fuelling the disorder and I had no intention of going further than what was needed for me to stay alive. I told myself that I could live with things that way and I did. I managed but my world was majorly restricted. I couldn’t eat out which meant that I said no to a lot of social events. My day would unravel because I couldn’t figure out how to eat lunch when I was out of my home and the things that I was allowed to have was limited. I would drive round several stores looking for one brand of something until I found out because I couldn’t be flexible and have something that was different. Anorexia made my life more difficult than it had to be. So when I went into treatment this time, I wanted to do things differently. All the things that weren’t priority before became important. I knew that I was going to have to make myself go out of my comfort zone which would mean not choosing the safest options on the menu or compensating in some way. It meant that I was going to work on eating out and letting other people cook for me. I didn’t get all of that down in treatment but I made a start. The problem was that when I was discharged, I didn’t follow through. I stopped challenging the frightening things and fell back into a bit of a rut. I bargained with myself that if I could just have a healthy body then I didn’t need to push myself. Yet it’s so hard to maintain a recovery like that because you’re never letting fully go of the disorder. I kept holding on to this part of it and I think it was a security thing. Part of me was still invested in the belief that it would heal me in some ways. Yet it was plain to see that keeping that safety net there, I was only falling backwards. It hit me that something had to change and so that’s what I’ve been doing.

The challenge days started a few weeks back now and I have done some pretty big ones. It’s an odd feeling when the beliefs that you clinged on to are disproved. I never know whether to be annoyed or relieved that my predictions are wrong. There is still the fear though that one day I will be right and all the terrible things that I imagined would happen, will happen. I really don’t want to be right on this one. I had a challenge today, reintroducing something that I took out a while back and hadn’t had the nerve to do myself. I don’t think it was a coincidence that as the day wore on today and it got nearer to my appointment that my body image was getting progressively worse. I know this was Anorexia playing tricks on me and I guess I was reminded of that today when my team member said “Is it your voice that is telling you this or is it the Eating Disorder voice?”. I didn’t even hesitate when answering because it was clear. If it was my voice then I wouldn’t have been that upset over what I was trying to do, it would have been fine. I wouldn’t have had to have an appointment and someone with me to just do it. When I think about it, most of the choices I make, whether they be a social thing or a food thing, they’re all governed by this domineering voice which wants to ruin my day and make me miserable. I’m tired of listening to that and responding to it. Next week I hit one of my biggest challenges. I am anxious already and that is why I know I have to do it and can’t avoid it anymore. I’ll let you know what happens.

I hope your day has been good to you

Rant – Feel free to skip this one

19 Jun

This week has been difficult for me and its hit me hard. There have been a few occasions where it has felt like I have been torn down a little and made to feel small. I haven’t felt very powerful but instead have been left feeling desperate in my search of some self-respect to hold on to. I’m questioning so much and I have no one to turn to with it. I am realising that this time I am on my own and somehow I’m going to have to make that work. I feel like I am going to have to do something that I don’t want to do, which is to not be truthful with the state of my world because I have learnt that all those times I thought honesty was helping me, it was just giving people a space to make judgements about me.

It happened at the beginning of the week and then it happened again yesterday. I could take the first one, it was a work thing, not directly personal but still hurtful. It’s my job to deal with that though and challenge it in the hope that it leads to education. I’m used to it. Most of the time I can shake off the looks which are ones of hostility and as though I am a waste of space. It’s fine. It’s what I signed up for.

The one that happened yesterday though was personal. My history with Mental Health services is extensive and I have been stuck in this system for many years now. I’ve never really had a sustained period of stability and my world and family is often chaotic. There is always one crisis or another. There has always been relapse and despair and risk. I have learnt to manage that and in some ways accept it for what it is. This may be as good as it gets and that’s fine. I can live with it. Keeping that in mind and moving forward, it was discussed with me a couple of weeks ago that I would finally be discharged from services in December. I have to admit that I breathed a little easier knowing that. The end was coming and I had seen it through without running away. I thought that was a good thing and wanted to take the next step forward. Yesterday I sat down with my CPN and talked about that next step, which for me was thinking of coming off my medication. I have been debating the subject for a while with myself, with friends…trying to figure out if its a good idea. I’ve had some people say yes, others were not so sure. When I asked my CPN the last time, she was happy to arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss the issue. That wasn’t the case this time. She told me that she was worried I was going to pull a stunt like this. I asked her what she meant by that and her response was that whenever I get close to being discharged, I do something to screw it up and that it had been documented in my notes. For a moment I was stunned. Where the hell was this coming from and what were her examples? she cited one instance of it saying that I was supposed to be discharged before and something prevented it although she did not go into any further detail of said example. Let me just say I was amazed at this whole turn around and despite her incompetence over the last couple of years, I thought she had at least some insight. I told her that the idea of coming off my medication came long before that meeting of planning a discharge. To prove my point – and trust me I was annoyed that I even had to – I got out my diary to check the date of that last appointment and my journal and read her an extract dated a couple of weeks before in which I talked about wanting to stop my meds. Then we got into an argument about the meds that I am taking and that if I was to go ahead with it, she would be insisting that they removed the one medication that I want to keep because there are no studies to prove its long term efficacy, despite it still working for me. Bottom line was that she would not support this decision at this time. We eventually calmed down enough to talk through an alternative plan which was for me to stay on them for another year and do it then so that I don’t screw up Uni. Her point was valid and I wasn’t even upset about her disagreeing with me on that point, even with how she backed me into corner with the threats. What annoyed was that she made an assumption that I was attempting to manipulate her. That she looked at a situation and made it fit a diagnosis rather than looking at why someone would want to be in control of their own lives for once. Then I was generally pissed at the system and that these people felt like they have the right to make a judgement about me and no one thought to have a conversation with me. Furthermore, even when I proved her wrong on the whole me self-sabotaging thing and the medication decision after the discharge meeting, she didn’t have the decency to apologise. There was so little respect in my house yesterday that I almost threw her out and I don’t do anger as an emotion but I was so mad that I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest it was beating that fast.

The thing is, she doesn’t even know me. She may have been working with me for the last couple of years but for 5 of those months I was in hospital and she saw me three times. She still thinks that I was this happy bundle of joy when I was at Uni, and although yes I loved my classes, I was knee-deep in Anorexia and constantly moments away from a full-blown breakdown. My tutor had to see me every week to just get me through in one piece and that’s happy? What I hate the most though, is that I am here, tearing this woman down and letting her get to me because that isn’t who I am. I am usually always at fault and for the first time I don’t feel like that. I feel like I was wronged and criticised based on something that isn’t even real. She gave me the option to do the discharge yesterday and I wanted to say yes, let’s do that but I know it would have been a knee jerk reaction. Yet I’m not sure I see the point in staying in a service for another 6 months when this relationship which wasn’t great feels like it can’t be repaired and I have neither the patience not the inclination to try. I have over a month before our next appointment and I think if I feel the same way then maybe then that will be the time to end this. When she left, she said prove me wrong…and I just thought “No…that is manipulation. That is very much like saying if you do this thing it means that and if you do the opposite it means something else and neither of those things are good. I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself”. I would have said that out loud to her but I have feeling she would have twisted it because I’m not allowed to mention patterns in their behaviour. I’m not allowed to question them. If I do it, it’s symptoms, if they do it, it’s assessment. I fought so hard against this kind of shit and in the end what for? There are some things that will never change.

This last week, I have thought about quitting the work I do, pulling a project and moving on from it. I am tired of putting myself in the position where I can be picked over like this and I want it to stop. I don’t have the heart to do it anymore. How many more times can I keep splitting bits of me off in order to challenge beliefs and still have an expectation that anything will be let afterwards? I’m even looking as far ahead as leaving this city once I’ve finished my degree. Maybe I just need to start again somewhere else.

I have ranted at you. I’m sorry. I don’t feel like I have anywhere else to really turn right now and I just needed to get that out of my system. Hopefully I can just forget about it now for a while and focus on treatment that is actual treatment and building a life that is mine and good for me.

I hope your day has been good to you.

Brief Thoughts on Giving Up

15 Jun

Is it possible to be living your life based on two conflicting thoughts that are running at the same time? If so, this is what I think I’m doing. On one side I have this dialogue saying “You got this, it’s going to be ok, you can find contentment. You will know what it’s like to be free if you just keep going. You’re so close, don’t give up”. Yet the other side is saying “Nope, this is not ok! You are incapable and you’re being ridiculous to even think that you can attain even a tiny bit of peace. Stop fighting. Stop trying to prove that you’ll ever be anything more than a screw up because you won’t be. This is all it’s ever going to be so give up”. It feels like most of the time I’m battling my own mind more than I am trying to take down the Eating Disorder, that’s if we go with the belief that we are separate and don’t live in the same house. You see, I think I am beginning to believe that it’s not actually the disorder that is going to ruin me but me instead. If I can’t outrun my own doubts then I don’t stand a chance. If I don’t move out of my own way then I’ll destroy myself and all Anorexia will have to do is stand by and watch. It is so tiresome to not be able to trust your own mind and even more so to not feel safe there either. However this is nothing new and maybe that’s why it’s so frustrating now, I know the patterns and the traps and yet repeatedly I trip in to them. It’s like when you are learning a new skill or a dance. Intellectually you know the steps, you know the way you are meant to move your body, the twists and turns are driven into your memory. You hear the music in your sleep and see the entire routine in your dreams. You know all this but when the time comes to move your own body to the beat, you can’t do it. There are trips and stumbles, your arms won’t stretch the way your head is telling them to, your legs don’t extend as they so easily do in your head. You know it but you can’t do it. That’s what I feel recovery is like sometimes. I’m telling myself to jump higher, stretch further, not to forget the next step but in reality it doesn’t work. I can’t get off the ground. I’m not strong enough to do what is so easily done in my mind. I want it but wanting doesn’t mean you have the ability.

It’s not a reason to give up though. If I have learnt anything over these last few years is that giving up has never actually gotten me anywhere. When I was younger, I thought it meant that I would get to rest. I would stop and I would die and that was perfectly acceptable to me. Can you imagine being a kid and your only ambition is to not be here anymore? I expected it to be this clean transition. That you simply drifted from one plane of existence to the next or to nothing if that is what you believed. I had this idea that if you wanted it enough and you willed it then it would be enough. Life would get the hint and let you go. Stop eating, stop crying, stop talking, stop hoping. Simple. Only it wasn’t. People try and save you and it gets more complicated. There isn’t an easy way out. Suicide is certainly not easy and neither is life.

The other thing I learnt was that by giving up, I was making me exist in this painful state all the time. I was so busy trying to escape that had I been able to pay attention and stop trying to numb the pain and fight the world, then I may have noticed that there was potential for goods things to happen. I blocked it all out because I convinced myself that if I could not handle the bad, if I didn’t want that…then I sure as hell didn’t deserve the good either. I thought it was all or nothing. You couldn’t be half in and half out. Again, simple.

So here I am…years in to this and I am still searching for the thing that’s going to make me want to stop giving up. There is still that childish belief in me that thinks it would be better if I let myself go under. I would drift away quietly and everything would be fine. That isn’t real though. If I give up…I will feel every single drop. It will hurt, I will hurt and as my self fights me to stay alive, I genuinely believe that it will tear my soul in two in the process. There is no peace in stopping that way. Not when it comes to this. Anorexia is not a silent disorder, it will go down with you screaming like a banshee for the whole world to hear.

I am conflicted everyday.
Yet I can’t be about this. Giving up cannot be an option anymore. It’s too much of a heart-breaking experience to keep going back there. To keep wondering if I am capable of or not. I’ve lost too much time going over the same debate. I’m still losing time.

My family is kind of fractured right now. I have another head injury going on as of yesterday. My license is in jeopardy. My world is unsecure right now but this recovery has to stay stable. If that goes then everything goes. I have 3 months left of treatment. There isn’t actually a lot of time left to lose.

Lets go hard.

Choices

10 Jun

There is a quote that I find I am repeating daily to myself. It is one that reminds me that for everything I do there is an effect and we have to decide whether we can live with those outcomes or not.

“We are our choices” – Sartre

The lives that we live are defined by moments. We continuously alter the paths that we are on based on split second decisions. We draw lines all the time and there is a before and after for the choices that we make. You don’t know at the time though which ones are the big ones, the ones that will change everything and that you can never properly come back from. You only work that out when it’s over and in my case, when you realise how wrong you have been. I made mistakes. I chose silence instead of words. I chose to give up because I couldn’t go any further forward. I chose pills and drugs and drinking and starving over friends and hope and self belief. I chose death because life was too painful. It all broke me if I’m honest. I think of the person I was, the one who according to my friend tonight was “wild, feral and the embodiment of fury” and I can see how I let those choices and those moments define me for a very long time. It was a cloud hanging over me and if I was my choices then I couldn’t choose a good thing because I was not a good person. I was not positive or worthy…at least that’s what I told myself.

However for all of my bad decisions, there are the better ones that equally define me and make me who I am. They were fought hard for. They are built on something less certain, more dangerous and with the potential to hurt me more than anything ever before. Recovery is one of those things. I know that I have to choose recovery everyday – not just one day but everyday – and that choice has to be active because giving my body what it needs does not come automatically to me.

Of course things are more complicated when an illness is involved and no matter how much I want to minimise it, I was unwell. It wasn’t all free-will. I didn’t go looking for Anorexia. I didn’t grow up with a wish of being someone who self harms or needed drugs to block the pain. I didn’t dream of being a girl who dreams about suicide. Those were not my choices but how I reacted was. I dealt with all that with hostility instead of compassion. I shut out the world. I didn’t trust people. I hid. The Eating Disorder programmed my mind to see destruction as survival and being respectful to my body as wrong and although I couldn’t change that, I still had a part to play. If I could change anything it would be all those times when I was a kid and I stopped talking. I would tell myself you’re not being cool, open your mouth and put an end to this now. Don’t let it grow so out of control that you can not put the lid back on the box. Hindsight is such a bitch of a thing. I want to undo something that doesn’t feel like it can be undone.

It’s like I was stood on the edge of something and instead of stepping back, I fell. I hit the ground and shattered. Imagine that fall, imagine the physical damage something like jumping off a building would do…everything breaks or ruptures or bleeds. The damage can be repaired, your bones will heal but you will never forget the fall. You’ll remember the ground rushing up to meet you and the snaps leave you aching when it’s cold outside. You’ll intact but you’re not quite. That’s what Anorexia feels like right now. I’ll mend myself from this. I’ll manage it, maintain it, control the pain, fix what I can, put up with what I can’t…but it’s traces are ingrained in me. I will never forget. I chose to recover because even I know that sooner or later I’m not going to get up from one of those falls.

You may be wondering where all this is coming from. Obviously I have random, come out of nowhere thoughts but I suppose it goes deeper than that. I have a brother who is not well right now, who won’t admit to it and who also crashed his car last night and threatened to jump in the river. I don’t think he realises right now that these little moments, they will haunt him. He will sit up in the middle of the night in 5 years time and wonder why he got behind the wheel of a car in the state that he was in. Or he will ask himself why he wasted so much time pretending he was fine instead of getting help. I want to stop him from making all the mistakes that I did, all the bad choices and the falls. I can’t though, can I? They are his to make and I just hope that when it’s over, I still have a brother left.

You will not

6 Jun

My heart has felt restless today. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, only that my anxiety has been pretty high since yesterday afternoon and it’s making me unsure about things. It’s an odd sensation, I equally want to hide from the world and do nothing or do a million different things in order to avoid how uncomfortable I feel. Neither one is stronger than the other and as a consequence I’ve kind of got through my day today behind a cloud of fogginess, not really connecting with anything. I was with all my siblings for a couple of hours this afternoon and all I could think about was how irrelevant I was and that I did not fit with them. It almost like they live in this separate world that I can’t seem to get access to. The thing is though that I know it’s not because of anything they have done or said, it’s just me and how I feel about myself. I guess I don’t feel that great about me today. I can’t keep up with the rapid cycling of my thoughts that swing between taking back control of my life to insecurely diminishing myself. I want to tell my brain to pick a side and stay there for longer than 5 minutes so that I can get my bearings. I don’t think it’s going to happen though, is it? I can change a lot of things but maybe not how my mind is wired and if that’s the case then I’m going to just have to get better at adapting to it.

There has been something today though that has made me pause and although initially increased my self-pity, did in the end make me remember why I am choosing to recover. As some of you may know, I do my best thinking when I’m driving. There is something about being in the car and not having other distractions that I can turn to and use to avoid which means that I start to get a bit real with myself. Not always great but useful I suppose. Anyway I started to question if all this was worth it? Did I regret anything? I ran through all the things that I had said no to, all the things that I had made myself do and all the hurt that I had caused and wondered would I do it again. Honestly, I regret it all. None of it was worth it. When you find yourself so deep in this disorder and trying to climb out the other side, when you have enough insight to see what it has done, then you will understand that it was not ok. I promise you that when you begin to wake up from this illness, you will not wish you had invested more into it. I am here and I can tell you that there is no part of me that wishes I’d have said no to more things so I could have indulged my disorder. I sat there in the car and cried because I felt sorry that I had done that. I was upset for me but what upset me more was that there are still millions of people out there who haven’t figured that out yet. They still hate themselves because they didn’t work out as long as they think they should have, or that they hung out with a friend when they were supposed to be shutting them out. Let me tell you something, it’s not going to matter when you’re doing more damage than you thought possible and you’re potentially dying. You will not sit there and think to yourself ‘I should have lost another lb, I should have missed more of my life, I should have stayed in instead of going out, I should have spent less time on my school work or career and focused more on weighing less’. I regret how much time I wasted on this disorder and I’m sad about that but that can’t be the only emotion I feel because that’s just as toxic. The more I grieve for the life that I didn’t live, the longer I stay trapped and I am done with this cage. I think when I can be angry about it, maybe then I can figure out how to let go of it.

I hope your day has been good to you.

Challenge Days

4 Jun

Challenge days are awful. They are a new thing that I’m trying in an attempt to put this disorder to bed and I seriously do not like them. I was petrified for most of the morning, in fact I may have started tearing up yesterday when I was just thinking about it. I kept wondering why I had decided that this would be a good idea and for the life of me, I could not come up with anything. I ran through the perfectly scripted excuses in my head as to why I would not be able to meet my challenge today and yet I knew that they all sounded hollow. They may have been enough to convince myself not to go ahead but my health support worker was not going to fall for them. She is kind but from her experience of working on the ward, she doesn’t let me talk myself out of what I intended to do. She came for lunch. The big scary lunch which included something way up high on my list of fear foods. Physically I was shaking, talking in this fast random voice that is my norm when I am ridiculously anxious. We talked about nothing and about everything, it’s strange how easily I am opening up to her. For some reasons my defences are not as solid as they once were and maybe that is because I know now that those attempts to shield myself or protect myself were allowing me to stay trapped in my disordered behaviours. If I am going to better from this or not as stuck then it requires me to be honest with her and tell her what is difficult for me and what I need to work on. Otherwise nothing changes and all of this really doesn’t mean very much. I have to tell her what frightens me and why it frightens me. I also have to remind myself of those things. I could pretend that I was fine and tell myself that I don’t even want to eat those foods anyway but that was never the point. I am trying and challenging because I don’t like being afraid of something this much. I don’t want to live my life governed by fear and because of that restricting. It’s not a way to live or at least one that I am not interested in. There are enough rules in this world, so why am I trying to add more?

I got through my challenge today and I’ll be repeating it a little tomorrow. It’s going to take time for me to not be as freaked out about it as I was today. I am going to have to practice and keep doing it till the fear lessens. Unfortunately it is the only way with this disorder. Avoidance will only keep us where we were. You can side-step this fear, you have to meet it. The next challenge day is Monday.

Note to self: There is a point to this. There is a reason I am doing this.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Treatment Overload

1 Jun

It feels like I’ve been hit over the head with treatment things today. This morning I had a session with my key nurse to look through some relapse prevention stuff and then an hour afterwards a practical appointment with my support worker to have lunch. It’s been quite intense but also probably necessary.

With my nurse we’re looking at my High risk situations. What are the things that are going to trigger a relapse? What are the situations that are going to make my engage in behaviours and what will those behaviours be? Then what could I do instead? The writing about it was easy. Answering the surface question wasn’t that difficult but actually going into depth about it, well…it was hard. I don’t like to focus too much on my answers and it makes me uncomfortable when I have to sit there and analyse it. Most of the time I wanted to say that I didn’t know but the more I thought about it and why my thoughts were like that the more I started to see it make sense. I keep going back to the behaviours of restriction for so many reasons, one of them being that I have some twisted sense of loyalty to it, the others being that I keep expecting for it take make me feel better about myself and that I don’t know anything else. I’ve never had any other life that I can remember. Most of what I had written in the work booklet was done months ago whilst I was in hospital and it’s infuriating to know that so much of it is still applicable now. How is it possible that I continue to feel so torn and as though I am doing something wrong? The next part was looking at what my weight had done over the years and how it corresponded to what was going on at the time. The drop is noticeable as its sudden after the ten-year mark. My nurse what had happened and I told her that that was the point I gave up. I stopped trying to maintain a stable weight in order to stop people from noticing and instead let the Eating Disorder sink me fast. I told her I could even pinpoint the week that it happened. When everything went from “I’m fine” to “I don’t care”, the week my body stopped feeling like I had any ounce of ownership over it. It was a bad week. Yet it wasn’t the actual week that broke me as such…it was the tiredness. My nurse told me this as I tried it into perspective. She said “You’d been doing this for so long, you would have been exhausted to fight any longer”. I was. It’s never the big things that destroy you, it’s the millions of little things, the personal disasters piled on top of each other that leave you breathless and struggling.

I want to let her in and I mean all the way in but I feel like since I’ve started question my identity, the system, the roles that we play, I’ve started to create a distance between us. I don’t trust her fully because I don’t trust me anymore. How can I say this is my heart when my heart feels like a stranger?

My next appointment wasn’t too bad. I still haven’t started challenging new foods yet but I think I’m still getting used to my new support worker. I am being more open here though about the practical excuses. The excuses I tell myself so that I don’t do the difficult things. I am well aware that this is a problem for me. I told her about this list of fear foods that I wrote ages ago…maybe last year and on it were things that I was going to try. Since that time, despite all the self catering opportunities in hospital, most of that list remains unchecked. We’re going to be doing one on Thursday, a huge fear and needless to say I am scared shitless. I’m waiting for something terrible to happen although I couldn’t tell you what that terrible thing is. Every week we’re going to do this because I won’t be in treatment forever and I need to not be this afraid of food all the time. I need to find the evidence that tells me it’s ok to eat these new foods. Right now my selections are limited and it’s not maintainable. The new theme of my recovery today seems to be feel the fear and do it anyway.

That is me today and I have one more treatment thing to go to tonight which is group support. I’m not a fan of this group and I really don’t want to spend another hour sat talking about this damn disorder but I think I’d rather that than still be talking about it for the next 5 years.

I hope your day is being good to you.

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